Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Brief Chiefs Interlude

OK, I have to say something here about the Chiefs. Obviously, this season has been pretty horrible, and talk is already moving to next April's draft and what direction the Chiefs should take. Of course, the big question is whether the Chiefs should take a quarterback with their almost-certain top five pick, or look at another position.

If you had asked me in October, I would have said PLEASE take a QB. Brodie Croyle was handed the starting job despite last year's abundant evidence that he a) could not stay healthy and b) sucked. When the inevitable happened and he was knocked out for the 2008 season, Damon Huard came on and showed that he was perhaps washed-up. With nowhere else to turn, KC offensive coordinator Chan Gailey tweaked the offense, making it into more of a college-style spread offense. This was a smart move and allowed last-man-standing QB Tyler Thigpen, who looked absolutely horrible early in the season, to be more comfortable in the offense. The transformation of the Chiefs' offense from early September until now has been remarkable.

KC's offense first six games: 75 points, 1,544 yards, 84 first downs, 10 turnovers.
KC's offense next seven games: 137 points (the defense has scored 21), 2,406 yards, 130 first downs, 8 turnovers (five of those were in one game).
Thigpen's stats for the last seven games: 134 completions in 225 attempts (59.5%), 1,534 yards, 12 TDs, 4 INTs, and 224 rushing yards.

Now, the Chiefs still need help on offense. Even if you extrapolate the offense of the last seven games to 13 games, the numbers are still roughly league average:

KC extrapolated: 254 points, 4,468 yards, 241 first downs, 15 turnovers.
League average: 290 points, 4,247 yards, 240 first downs, 21 turnovers.

Of course, with a young QB running it, you would expect the offense to get better over the next few years. Even better, the Chiefs have a collection of young talent on offense to grow with Thigpen--the Thigpen to Dwayne Bowe connection should only get better, given a chance to keep playing together. Still, KC could use a better offensive line, another wide receiver or two, and maybe even another running back.

But the Chiefs real problem is on defense. KC is giving up 397.3 yards per game. That's 32nd, last, worst, whatever you want to say, in the NFL. Worse than the winless Detroit Lions. Worse than the miserable St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks. They are next to last in rushing yards allowed and all the way up to 29th in pass yards allowed. Finally, they are 30th in points allowed. And of course, there is the oft-discussed topic that the Chiefs have 6 sacks for the year, when the NFL record low for a 16 game season is 13.

Now, when you're 2-11, you obviously need help everywhere. The Chiefs might be best served to pick whoever they feel is the best player, regardless of position, when their turn comes. But they should definitely emphasize defense over offense in the draft. A pass rusher or a stud linebacker would go a long ways to improving the defense for 2009. Despite the lousy pass defense numbers, I think rookie cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr have played decently this year. Most of the problem is up front and the complete and utter lack of a pass rush. And that is KC's most pressing need.

1 comment:

The Amazing Michelle said...

I heart Tyler.